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Teeth, tags, and a TSE
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This presentation by University of Maryland Extension Sheep & Goat Specialist Susan Schoenian covers three topics: teeth (including how to age sheep and goats), tags, and scrapie (including tagging …

This presentation by University of Maryland Extension Sheep & Goat Specialist Susan Schoenian covers three topics: teeth (including how to age sheep and goats), tags, and scrapie (including tagging requirements).

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  • 1. Teeth, tags, and a TSE
    SUSAN SCHOENIANSheep & Goat SpecialistWestern Maryland Research & Education CenterUniversity of Maryland 432-2767 x343
  • 2. Today’s topics
    • Teeth
    • 3. Mouthing sheep and goats to estimate age
    • 4. Mouthing sheep and goats to determine soundness
    • 5. Tags
    • 6. Methods of identifying sheep and goats
    • 7. Ear tagging basics
    • 8. TSE
    • 9. Scrapie in sheep and goats
    • 10. Tagging requirements
  • Mature sheep and goats have 32 teethLambs and kids have 20 temporary teeth
    Dental padno teeth
    MolarsBack teeth
    Incisors(front teeth)
    Picture source: Merck Veterinary Manual, 8th edition
  • 11. Mouthing sheep and goats to estimate age
    • You can estimate the approximate age of sheep and goats by determining the age at which the milk teeth are replaced by permanent incisors.
    • 12. Age varies by individual animal, breed, environment, and nutrition.
    < 1
    > 4
    Source for illustrations: Adapted from Vatta et al. (2005) Goatkeepers' Veterinary Manual.
  • 13. Lamb – less than 1 year of age
    Baby teeth
    Milk teeth
    All temporary
  • 14. Yearling (1-2 years)
    1 pair
  • 15. 2 to 3 year old
    2 pairs
  • 16. 3 to 4 year old
    3 pairs
  • 17. 4-5 years old – solid mouth
    4 pairs
  • 18. 7-8 year old – Solid mouth
    < 4 pairs
  • 19. 10-11 year old broken mouth
  • 20. 11+ years old“Gummer”
  • 21. Jawabnormalities
  • 22. Another way to tell how old a sheep is
    Lamb, > 12 months
    2 break joints
    Yearling, 13-24 monthsspool and/or break joints
    Mature sheep, > 2 years
    2 spool joints
  • 23. Identifying sheep and goats
  • Ear tagging basics
    Proper tags
    Proper tool
  • 33. Ear tagging basics
    Proper restraint
    Proper placement
  • 34. How to reduce ear tag infections
    • Tag young animals
    • 35. Tag clean, dry ears
    • 36. Tag when humidity is low.
    • 37. Use smaller tag
    • 38. Avoid metal tags
    • 39. Punch a hole in the ear before inserting tag
  • How to reduce ear tag infections
    • Apply lubricating antiseptic to male and female parts of tag
    • 40. Dip in iodine
    • 41. Soak ear tags in alcohol or another disinfectant before inserting.
    • 42. Cut out infected tags
  • How to reduce tag losses
    Insert tag 1 to 2 inches from skull
    Thicker part of ear
    Less snagging
    Put female part of tag on inside of ear
    Less snagging
    Avoid large veins
  • 43. What to do if animal loses a tag
    Own flock/herd
    Flock/herd of origin
    • Write down old number and new number
    • 47. Registration tag
    • 48. Replace with a tag with the same number
  • [TSE] Scrapie
    • Disease of sheep and goats.
    • 49. Affects central nervous system.
    • 50. Animals over 18 months of age
    • 51. Always fatal.
    • 52. Member of a family of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSEs).
    • 53. Other TSEs
    • 54. Mad cow disease
    • 55. Chronic wasting disease
    • 56. Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s disease
  • How does a sheep or goat get scrapie?
    Direct contact with an infected sheep or goat.
    • Direct contact with infected placenta.
    Environmental contamination (?)
  • 57. Can all sheep and goats get scrapie?
    • Affects mostly blackface and speckled-faced sheep.
    • 58. Few cases in goats in U.S.
    • 59. A sheep’s genetics determines if it will get scrapie if it is exposed.
    • 60. R gene - resistance
    • 61. Q gene - susceptibility
    • 62. They are still looking for resistant genotypes in goats.
  • -- MANDATORY --Tagging requirement for scrapie program
    Tag all sheep and goats when they leave your property.
    Sell to neighbor
    Go to weigh-in and tagging
    Go to fair
    Go to sale barn
    Tag should be applied at the farm where the goat or sheep was born.
    Premise ID
    Individual animal ID
    Why? To trace back infected animals to their farm of origin and find other animals that might have been exposed.
  • 63. Tattoo instead of ear tag
    A flock ID and individual animal number can take the place of an ear tag.
    A registration tattoo may also take the place of a tattoo if the animal accompanied by its registration paper.
  • 64. What if . . . ?
    • The sheep or goat you buy doesn’t have a scrapie tag?
    • 65. The seller is required to tag the animal.
    • 66. If the seller doesn’t provide a tag, tag the animal with another scrapie tag and record the seller’s name and address so you can prove the animal wasn’t born on your farm.
    • 67. The sheep or goat loses its scrapie tag?
    • 68. Put in another tag and record both tag numbers (lost and new).
  • How to get FREE scrapie tags
    • Contact John T. Swann at (410) 349-9708 or
    • 69. He will assign a Flock ID and order your free ear tags and pliers to apply them.
  • Thank you for your attention.